In Greenville County, we have the Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail, county parks, food trucks, health clinics, top-ranked health systems, and destination downtowns. But even with all of that, the county is ranked four of 46 South Carolina counties in health outcomes and two of 46 in health factors, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control places Greenville County in the middle of 3,100 peer counties for health outcomes and factors.
That’s not good enough.
We believe that Greenville County can, and should, be the healthiest county in America. Greenville Health System’s vision is to “transform health care for the benefit of the people and communities we serve,” and we’re willing to invest the money to prove it’s possible.
Healthy Greenville 2036 is what we’ve named this grant initiative because our goal is just that – make Greenville County the No. 1 best place to live, work, and be healthy by 2036. The funding for the grant is provided to Greenville Health Authority (GHA) from GHS. It’s our way of giving back to the community and recognizing our long-standing commitment to the county.
And it’s a big, bold commitment – approximately $4 million a year for 20 years. That’s enough time to do great work and change the health outcomes and factors for Greenville County.
We believe that there are organizations – many of them – interested in joining GHA in this bodacious goal. So, the GHA Board of Trustees, community members, and experts worked for hundreds of hours to develop a process to allow eligible organizations to apply for grant money to make residents healthier.
How will organizations get the money? By coming up with new ideas, or improving on existing ideas, that involve health care, mental health, healthy eating and exercise, and the social determinants of health, which is how conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes.
We’re looking for people and organizations who intend to make an investment in the lives and health of the current generations and those to come. Our hard-working local non-profits are already part of the solution, busy tackling today’s immediate issues.
We believe Healthy Greenville 2036’s unprecedented commitment gives both us and the existing network a unique opportunity to work together to change behaviors long-term. Every community in Greenville County, regardless of its socio-economic status, has room for improvement.
And, just like GHS has collaborated with Bon Secours St. Francis Health System to come up with our Community Health Needs Assessment, we believe there are organizations that can follow that example and collaborate to offer bigger and greater programs to the county’s residents.
We have a clear and transparent process for applying. To be eligible to receive a grant, an organization must be one of the following: a non-profit with 501(c)3 tax-exempt status, a healthcare provider regardless of affiliation, academic institution, coalition or collaborative, and/or government agency. The minimum grant will be $250,000, with multi-year collaborative projects encouraged. The first deadline is May 15 for letters of intent.
Greenville Health Authority Board of Trustees plans to have grant money in Greenville County communities by mid-September after the board makes the final determination of the first grant recipients.
This is the beginning of change, and the GHA Board of Trustees is committed to seeing that the change happens. Healthy Greenville 2036 is possible. Greenville County deserves nothing less than to be the best.
For information on applying for a grant, visit ghs.org/healthygreenville2036
Lisa Stevens is chair of the Greenville Health Authority Board of Trustees, the new operating name for the previously named Greenville Health System Board of Trustees. She is a community volunteer and founding chairman of Langston Charter Middle School.
The Rev. Sean Dogan is the vice chair of the GHA board and is the pastor of Long Branch Baptist Church.